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Woman gets probation for harboring man

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Kevin Murphy/Special to the Gazette
May 8, 2008
— Linda Jo Curtis admitted she will have to learn to be more careful about whom she trusts.

That was her promise to the federal court Wednesday after she received a year’s probation from a federal judge for harboring a man considered a high threat.


U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb also ordered Curtis to participate in mental health counseling regarding trust issues.


Curtis trusted Forrest Gabor even though she knew he’d made death threats against two U.S. presidents and even though a U.S. Secret Service agent warned her she’d be prosecuted if she harbored him.


Gabor was on probation for the threats and was a resident at the Rock Valley Community Programs halfway house.


After Gabor failed to return to Rock Valley on June 13, authorities began contacting every known acquaintance of his to determine his whereabouts. Curtis, 33, was contacted and told not to take in Gabor, but a day later, she did.


“This was a big deal to the Secret Service. (Gabor) is not the kind of person the Secret Service wants on the loose,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Graber said Wednesday.


“That’s why we charged this case,” Graber said.


Gabor had threatened President Clinton’s entire family in March 2000 and then mailed what he said was anthrax to President George Bush at the White House in 2002, Graber said. Results of subsequent psychological testing caused the Secret Service to classify Gabor in the highest threat ranking assigned to an individual.


“There’s only 20 of them in the country. That’s the same ranking given to John Hinckley,” who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, Graber said.


The day after Curtis allowed Gabor to stay overnight, authorities received a call from a third party informing them Gabor had been at Curtis’ residence, Graber said.


Curtis apologized to the court, saying she is “one of those good-hearted people who tries to help everyone.” However, because she is trying to regain custody of her children, she will be more careful about whom she trusts.


Curtis’ attorney Erika Bierma asked Crabb to consider her client’s lack of prior convictions and that Gabor’s stay last only 12 hours.


Citing the abuse Curtis suffered as a child, Crabb said it was “remarkable” Curtis had no prior convictions.


Curtis’ cooperation with authorities after Gabor was back in custody indicates it is unlikely she will re-offend, Crabb added.



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